Agri Business

Coffee exports set to fall for second year on lower output

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on October 05, 2019

Exporters focus on retaining Europe sales


India’s coffee exports in calendar 2019 are seen heading for a decline for the second successive year as the availability of beans for shipments has dwindled due to lower output during the 2018-19 crop year ending September.

As a result, exporters have slowed down their efforts chasing new orders to push Indian beans overseas amidst the fear of losing markets in Europe, a major destination for Indian coffee, to large producers such as Vietnam.



In calendar 2019, till October 3, coffee shipments from India, including re-exports, stood at 2.90 lakh tonnes, marginally higher than the corresponding last year’s 2.89 lakh tonnes.

The marginal increase was on account of higher re-exports, which stood at 70,201 tonnes as against 68,637 tonnes in the same period last year.

Shipments of India-grown beans were marginally higher at 2.20 lakh tonnes as compared to 2.19 lakh tonnes in the same period last year.

“There’s not much coffee left for exports. There won’t be many shipments in the October quarter and we may end up a few percentage points down over last year,” said Ramesh Rajah, President, The Coffee Exporters Association.

In 2018, India’s coffee shipments stood at 3.5 lakh tonnes, down from the record 3.78 lakh tonnes in 2017. Shipments during the fourth quarter of 2018 stood at 63,217 tonnes.

Rajah attributed the limited availability of coffees for shipment during the October quarter mainly to the bad crop last year. Output during the 2018-19 coffee year ending September stood at 3.19 lakh tonnes, per the Coffee Board’s post-monsoon estimate.

“We don’t expect October-December to be a good quarter due to lower availability. Exporters are also not keen to push because we are not sure of supplies,” Rajah said. However, the exporters are concerned about losing markets to large producers such as Vietnam.

“Vietnam is waiting for getting into India’s markets, mainly in Europe. If India is not able to cater to that market we may lose that market,” he said.

Further, shipments may revive from January, once the new crop arrives. India’s coffee crop for 2019-20 is seen lower than the previous year’s 3.19 lakh tonnes as erratic weather patterns have impacted output. However, there’s no clarity on the crop size as both the Coffee Board and the trade are yet to come out with the crop estimates. Erratic blossom showers at the beginning of the year coupled with unusual high temperatures that resulted in increased infestation of white stem borer have impacted the crop. Also the incessant monsoon has resulted in berries dropping, which would result in lower output. “Two continuous years of bad weather and the prevailing low prices are not very encouraging for the coffee sector,” Rajah added.

Published on October 05, 2019

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